Chapter 26 — Training in the Arena
Translated by Yunyun/@luosifens
Edited by AlexPT
Unable to return Li Zheng’s cloak to its rightful owner, Ling Xiaolu draped it back on his shoulders again.
Although he could set the environmental sensitivity to the lowest such that he would not be affected by the environment,Ling Xiaolu still insisted on experiencing the cold of Beimang. He refused to lower the settings, believing that only this way would he get a genuine experience.
Amidst the snowfall, he blew on his hands, reddened from the cold, and rubbed them together. Then, he cupped his palms around the tender shoot that had just broken out of the soil not long ago, in an attempt to shield it from the blizzard.
A seed, when planted in the never ending spring of Dongye, grew in full flourish, thick and lush, inspiring satisfaction toward nature’s offerings.
A seed, when planted in the frozen wasteland of Beimang, stood defiantly against the wind, proud and straight, inspiring marvel at the persistence of life.
Every day, Ling Xiaolu traveled and forth between spring and winter, enlightening himself on philosophies of life through farming.
“If you’re worried that it’ll freeze to death, you can find a glass bottle to cover it.” A voice as cold as the air suddenly resonated, and Ling Xiaolu knew it was Li Zheng who had arrived.
“Master, you’re so early.” Ling Xiaolu turned and stood up, giving him a well-behaved, polite greeting.
“If I didn’t come so early, wouldn’t you slip away as soon as you finished gardening?”
With his plan exposed, Ling Xiaolu denied it embarrassedly, “Master, how could I? I just happen to always miss the moment Master comes online. Actually, I also miss Master a lot.”
“Perfect. Then, stay behind.”
Ling Xiaolu blinked, feeling nervous. “ Stay behind… to do what?”
“I need to change the layout of my garden. The hot springs over there also need to be expanded.”
Could he hold back? No. Ling Xiaolu decided to go head to head with Li Zheng as a man!
With a curve of his lips, he said, “Master, I learned a new skill. Do you want to see?”
Without waiting for Li Zheng’s answer, he raised his finger. Shh—
While hidden, he tiptoed his way toward the main entrance. I’m leaving, I’m leaving—
Strange. How come his foot was stuck to the ground?”
Ling Xiaolu looked down in confusion to see his old friend the sunflower holding his ankles down, and cried two rivers of hot tears.
He raised his head pitifully. Beneath the plum tree, Li Zheng also lifted his eyelids a tad. “Nice.”
… Master, your praise is really moving.
Ling Xiaolu wiped away his tears and scolded righteously, “Master, even though our teacher-disciple relationship started from my endless harassment, you’ve been too unfair to me after accepting me as your disciple! Look at other masters. If they’re not teaching their disciples how to play the game, they’re helping them hunt for equipment. Even in their spare time they would pamper them, asking, ‘Disciple junior, are you hungry? Disciple junior, are you cold? Disciple junior, are you tired?’ Now look at me, farming, planting trees, moving things, feeding snakes. All I’m doing is hard work. Master, can’t you care for me a little every now and then!?”
“Disciple—” Li Zheng stressed, “—junior, are you hungry?”
“…” Ling Xiaolu wrapped himself up tighter in the fur cloak. “Junior’s not hungry. Junior’s just a little chilled.”
Why did he ask Li Zheng to care for him? He really is a junior.
“You want me to teach you?” Only now did Li Zheng’s gaze fall on him entirely.
“I do!” Ling Xiaolu concurred from the bottom of his heart. “Master, you’re so great. Even if you don’t teach me how to fight, you should still teach me how to customize my face!”
“I’ve seen you fight monsters.”
“Eh? When?” Even Ling Xiaolu hadn’t seen much of Ling Xiaolu fighting monsters!
“You’re pretty flexible.”
“Then you need to teach me even more, Master!” How could Ling Xiaolu let this opportunity slip by? “Think about it. I’m your disciple. If I go out and lose to everyone, wouldn’t that tarnish your reputation?!”
Li Zheng murmured, “There’s a tree stump over there. Why don’t you go attack it?”
Ling Xiaolu equipped his bear claws and began attacking the tree stump.
- 587. 662. Critical damage 1372…
Li Zheng watched for a while and then told him to stop. “Come here.”
“Where did you get that?” he asked.
“This?” Ling Xiaolu rubbed his bear claws together. “Ji Meng gave them to me. He said that dagger I was previously using is bad.”
“He gave you a weapon? Why didn’t he give you a spell?”
He took out a glowing thread. “Hold your hands out.”
Ling Xiaolu held his claws out and watched as Li Zhen first coiled the string around the sharp blades, then used his finger to draw some marks in the air.
The string vanished and the claws began to glow orange.
“Hm?” He waved his arms around curiously. The light even followed the movements of his, leaving a trail behind.
- 1738. 1258. Critical damage 3088…
Ling Xiaolu gasped, “Master! My damage doubled!”
“That’s good enough for your current level. You’ll have to rely on leveling up for the rest.”
“So, am I really strong now? Can I look for someone to PK?” Ling Xiaolu said excitedly.
“You’re still a hundred years too early,” Li Zheng shut him down ruthlessly. “With your current equipment, you can only train in the PVP arena that doesn’t require any equipment.”
“Oh.” Ling Xiaolu deflated a little. “What’s that?”
Ten minutes later, Ling Xiaolu was transported into the arena.
“Master? Master, where are you? Master, hello? Mas—aiyo!”
Someone slapped him hard on the back of his head.
Ling Xiaolu: …
This tone of voice, this behaviour, this attitude. This was his Master, no doubt. But this appearance?!
Li Zheng’s full set of white equipment had completely vanished. In its place was a soldier outfit that couldn’t be more common. Even his face changed into a standard, plain one.
“Master, how come you changed into this?”
Li Zheng looked him over and said, “Before asking me this question, shouldn’t you take a look at yourself first?”
Ling Xiaolu lowered his head and realized belatedly that the equipment he was wearing had also changed into the same as Li Zheng’s.
“What about my face? Did my face change too?” He quickly felt it with his hands. “My god! My face is square now!”
“There are forty people in the arena, and four teams in total. In a bit we’ll get eight random team members. Remember, we’re the green team. The players wearing green equipment are our teammates.”
“Green! I’ll remember it!”
Ling Xiaolu then asked, “So, what do I do after we go in?”
“You’ll know in a bit.”
One by one, the RNGed teammates entered the waiting room. Everyone looked pretty much the same, and Ling Xiaolu couldn’t see anyone’s username either.
The last person to enter announced loud and clear, “The experienced commander is here to lead the team. Follow my instructions. No leechers allowed!”
Ling Xiaolu whispered, “Master, is this guy a godly player?”
That player’s ears were razor sharp. “036! You got a problem?”
“036? Me?” Ling Xiaolu asked, pointing at himself.
The other player was startled. “You don’t even know about this? Are you a noob? Look at the number on your clothes!”
Ling Xiaolu found his own ID on his chest — 036; he also saw Li Zheng’s — 627, and even this bro with the huge pair of lungs — 411.
“Where did the numbers come from?” Ling Xiaolu asked Li Zheng.
“Oh…” And he thought that they could choose.
“Fuck,” 411 cursed, thinking himself unlucky. “We got a noob who doesn’t know jack. Isn’t this basically 9 vs 31?”
Ling Xiaolu didn’t really think so.
“My Master is here. He can teach me.”
411 sized up Li Zheng with contemptuously. “627 is your Master? Hope he’s not a loser either, or else we’ll really lose out big — all the way to the bank.”
“How can you talk about my Master like this?” Ling Xiaolu got angry. “My Master is… is…”
He wanted to say a very strong player, but then he remembered that he had never seen Li Zheng fight in the arena; what if he was not strong? Thus, he switched to words that he could back up.
“… The best-looking guy on the server!”
411 broke out into laughter, “Pfft — the best looking guy on the server? Who is he? Li Zheng?”
He nudged a player next to him and said, “Hey, did you hear? He said 627 is Li Zheng.”
A few nearby players also started to laugh.
Ling Xiaolu: …
Li Zheng commented flatly, “The countdown has started. No more chatting.”
But 411 had to get one last snipe in. “If 627 is Li Zheng, then I’m Zhen Jiu. Who doesn’t doesn’t know how to talk big when anon?”
“Look, 036, I can’t stop you from shooting your mouth off but please, don’t let down your teammates after we go in. Find a corner to snipe from and stay there.”
“And that Master of yours, remember to stun your opponent with your looks in the arena. It’s all up to your master-disciple pair whether or not we win today.”
Ling Xiaolu curled his lips in disgust and said, “Shifu, can we attack our own teammates here?”
He just finished asking when the whole team got transported onto the battlefield. The safety zone had yet to disappear, and there was a battle prep box nearby.
“I’m first!” 411 scrambled to open the box. He took away some guns, armor, and healing items.
Li Zheng ordered Ling Xiaolu, “Go. See if there are any crossbows in there.”
“There are, Master!” Ling Xiaolu snatched up the crossbow and gave it to Li Zheng.
Li Zheng loaded the crossbow, aimed, and shot an arrow at 411, draining 25% of his HP.
“You!” 411 shouted in anger. “Are you insane?!”
Li Zheng’s expression didn’t change as he replied, “My disciple asked me if he could attack teammates on the battlefield. I just give him a demonstration so that he doesn’t make this mistake in the future.”
Then he turned to Ling Xiaolu. “You can.”
Ling Xiaolu: … This answer isn’t extra at all, Shifu.
“Then what should I use?” The equipment in here was all very low-level. Ling Xiaolu found a wooden bow. “Can I use this?”
Li Zheng snatched the bow from his hands and tossed it back into the box. He then picked up a pitifully small dagger and handed it to him.
Ling Xiaolu said very tactfully, “Master, I think this knife is too short even for flossing my teeth.”
“Didn’t you come here to practice your control? This is the hardest close-combat weapon to use. It’s very light, doesn’t affect your speed, and you can even get a one-stab kill up close.”
Ling Xiaolu looked at the guns, bows, and crossbows in the other guys’ hands… But he still had to stay alive to get up close! He’d get shot into a sieve before he even approached.
“Let him take a long range weapon and snipe from a corner,” 745 cut in while holding an axe. “Close-combat is hard to play. Just keep the dagger for self defense.”
“No,” refused Li Zheng.
Ling Xiaolu said very gratefully, “Don’t worry, my Master brought me here to train.”
“Training in this kind of place? It’s too cruel.”
Ling Xiaolu gave him a thumbs up in his head, but kept a front on the outside. “How can that be? A strict master produces talented disciples.”
“A strict master who would even sneak attack his own teammate and a talented disciple who thinks he’s god’s gift.” Though 411 healed up his HP to full, this still used up one of his precious healing items. “See if I don’t report you two when we leave!”
Li Zheng pretended not to hear him. “You see the crystals?”
There were several dozen crystals of all shapes and sizes on the battlefield, as far as the eye can see.
“Right now they’re transparent, but ten seconds after you touch them, they’ll activate and change colour.”
“You can’t use skills, you can’t use pets, you can only use the items you were given.”
“I got it. I have to steal as many of the big ones as I can, right?”
411 wanted to sneer at him but held in the urge. Let this empty-headed newbie fight over the more popular big crystals. The harsh battlefield will teach him.
The safety zone disappeared and 411 allocated tasks. “745, go up. 122, go down. 036… didn’t you want the big ones? Take the middle!”
Ling Xiaolu only listened to Li Zheng. “Master?”
Upon getting confirmation, Ling Xiaolu ran towards his target. He barely took a few steps before receiving a shot from behind.
411 blew on the barrel of his gun. “If you let him get a taste for himself whether or not he can shoot his own teammate, wouldn’t that leave a deeper impression?”
Li Zheng showed signs of lifting the crossbow in his hands.
“Master!” Ling Xiaolu cried hurriedly, “Let’s do the arena first. We’ll deal with this later!”
The moment his fingers touched the crystal, a counter appeared beneath his fingertip.
1, 2, 3…
Time passed by very slowly here.
7, 8, 9…
Whoosh— Ling Xiaolu leaned backward vigilantly, dodging an arrow that flew over. Too bad his hand also left the crystal, putting all that effort to waste.
The attacker revealed their location. Li Zheng lifted his crossbow. Thud! Thud! Two arrows struck their target. Though this didn’t result in a kill, it was enough to make the attacker retreat.
Ling Xiaolu took this chance to restart the counter, thinking to himself, My Shifu really is strong in the arena!
The crystal turned green and their team got five points in one go. However, the first cluster of crystals were the easiest to capture and the other three teams also achieved the same result.
“Two players stay behind to guard the base! Everyone else, come with me to the next cluster!” yelled 411.
“Steal the Red Team’s crystals,” Li Zheng gave Ling Xiaolu different orders.
Without even thinking, Ling Xiaolu turned back and ran for the Red Team’s base. 411 was mad that these two weren’t following directions, but when he saw them go on a suicide mission, he didn’t stop them either.
“I was optimistic to think it would be 9 vs 31. Clearly, it’s 8 vs 32!”
Ling Xiaolu bent over and hid until he got behind a Red Team player who was on defense, but got discovered by a sniper hiding in the distance. He dodged the first arrow, but didn’t manage to dodge the second. He then got hacked a few times by a close-combat fighter who came at him with an axe, and now, he only had enough HP to survive one more hit.
“The number plates on your chest and back are lethal spots.” Li Zheng pointed out calmly as he shot at the sniper hiding in the distance.
If he got KO’d before doing anything, that would be too shameful. Ling Xiaolu clenched his teeth and leaped up from the ground, dodging the next hack at an unbelievable angle. He sank to his knees, slid behind his attacker, and slashed off the number plate on his back.
The sniper was also KO’d by Li Zheng. Countdown to respawn was thirty seconds. In a race against time, Ling Xiaolu captured the Red Team’s big crystal.
A Red Team player came as backup and sent his bloodied self back to the respawning point.
The Green Team had 11 points. They were ranked third.
“I didn’t learn well and embarrassed Master,” Ling Xiaolu reprimanded himself shamefully after respawning.
“As long as you know.”
Ling Xiaolu: …
“But how come I didn’t lose the crystal?” Not only did he not lose the big one but he even got another small one. Not only did they get four points, but they even made the Red Team lose 4 points and fall to the last place in one move.
“Your Master protected it,” Li Cheng glossed over the process.
Ling Xiaolu noted down that next time, other than bragging about Master’s good looks, he could also brag about Master’s strength!
To have a master this impressive, he must also work hard!
“I definitely won’t get KO’d again!”
“If you die, then you get to go back and fix the garden.”
… Then he absolutely couldn’t get KO’d again!
411: “Someone’s attacking the base! Go back and protect it!”
Li Cheng: “Continue attacking.”
411: “The Green Team has two guys who are left alone. Lie low and wait in the grass!”
Li Cheng: “Ignore him. Go steal the Yellow Team’s crystals.”
Ling Xiaolu: So annoying! Is there a way to block a single player?
He felt his way to the yellow crystal. His hand was about to touch it when someone sneaked up on him.
Ling Xiaolu’s feet dodged left and right. His left hand didn’t leave the crystal the whole time. The attacker discovered that this player was clearly so close but yet he still couldn’t get a hit on him this whole time.
“Why are you taking so long?” asked a Yellow Team player coming as backup. Ling Xiaolu lasted until the last second. After he captured the crystal, he was forced to fight one on two.
No wonder Li Zheng told him he could learn control in the arena. As he dodged the attacks one after another, Ling Xiaolu gained a better understanding of how to fight.
Too bad his weapon was too short and his HP was slowly running out.
At the critical moment, two crossbow arrows that flew out from a hidden spot saved his life. At least, for now, he didn’t need to go back and fix the garden.
The Green Team had gotten 29 points. For now, they ranked second.
Ling Xiaolu wiped off his sweat and asked, “Master, next time can you shoot earlier?”
Li Zheng, who’d been nearby, watching the show for ages, said, “Didn’t you come here to train? In training you have to stake everything.”
745 ran to them from afar and put down two healing items.
“Thank you, thank you,” said Ling Xiaolu, scrambling to pick them up and heal up his HP.
“I think you master-disciple pair play very well. 411 ordered everyone to guard the base but in the end, we lost it.”
Ling Xiaolu glanced behind him silently. “No worries. I also captured their other bases. We’re even, we’re even.”
“There’s less than one minute left. We’re still behind by 2 points.”
“I can try to capture the crystal in the middle but I need cover.”
Several teammates ran over, shouting,“We’ll cover you!”
411 stomped in place impatiently. “Is anyone still listening to the commander?! Right now, our goal is to guard the number two spot and our points!”
“I’m going then.” Ling Xiaolu put the handle of his dagger in his mouth and charged out without looking back. He dodged one shot after another and even stole two players’ number plates while at it.
Yellow Team members crowded in from both sides, but were all killed by Green Team members lying in ambush in all directions.
“There’s not enough time!” Ling Xiaolu yelled as the crystal activated.
745 was confused. “There’s still more than ten seconds! They all died already. Victory is ours.”
…8, 9, 10. The crystal in the middle turned green and they moved into first place.
411 raised his gun, stealthily aiming at Ling Xiaolu who only had 10% of his HP left.
“Ah—!” He got shot once again, just like back when the game first started.
“You again!?” He fumed. He had just turned the gun on Li Zheng when someone behind him stole his number plate.
“Sorry. This last bit of time is left to deal with you.” Ling Xiaolu said as he cast his number plate aside.
“You… Just you wait!”
The arena closed. 411 died five times in total. Even though his team placed first, for his individual score, he lost half his points.
After returning to the waiting room, 411 returned to his original appearance and roared in anger, “036 you bastard, where are you?! Get over here!”
One after another, players exited the arena. The Green Team’s internal strife was witnessed firsthand by pretty much every player there. Regardless of whether they won or lost, they all stayed behind to watch the commotion.
“411, are you looking for me?” Ling Xiaolu finally showed himself.
“You’re 036?” 411 gritted out, “You’re not a coward? Very good! Huh?! You even have the guts to walk around everywhere with a bounty on your head? Is that money to pay for my psychological damage? Lu Bi, you’ve got my attention! Report and PK, I’ll give you a package deal! No need to thank me! And your Master! Where is your Master?!
Turning around, Ling Xiaolu called, “Master, someone’s looking for you!”
“You master-disciple pair are cocky enough! You even dare to PK me? I’d like to see just who your Master is—”